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2010 First Quarter Summary

Model Species, or using Science! to change a manuscript

Back in December, Eric and I did a semi-final polish on Model Species and, in January, I started sending it out to agents. But, one thing still bugged Eric about the manuscript: the first chapter. During a read-through in 2009 (I think), it occurred to him that it might be better if the second chapter was the first. With my horror sensibility, I found the first chapter to be a great hook. The second chapter didn’t seem as compelling to me. Eric, on the other hand, found the mystery in the second chapter to be as persuasive. Being too close to the project, I decided we needed data. So, I enlisted a dozen friends and acquaintances to read the first three chapters for me. I gave about half of them a PDF with the original first chapter and the other half a PDF with the chapters reversed, and asked what they thought of the given excerpt. (Here are links to both PDFs: Original & Reversed.) The results generally supported Eric’s hypothesis: Everyone who read the “reversed” manuscript thought the first chapter worked. While the results for the original were similar, there were also comments that the original first chapter might be a little off-putting. In other words, there’s a chance that the original first chapter is a turn-off rather than a hook, while the second chapter works just as well for a hook. From here on out, the manuscript will be changed to reflect that. A big Thank You! goes out to everyone who helped with this little bit of writing “science.”

Zeta Iota, or the new project

After puttering around with the idea during NaNoWriMo and a serious discussion with Eric about it January, I wrote 10K words on Zeta Iota. The plot elements are there. The setting (far fallen future) is not.  The next step is to start over from scratch, word-wise. Eric has been uber patient with me on this, so I assume he thinks I can do this…eventually. I’m reading more SF in an effort to become more comfortable in that skin.

Pas de Chat, or that *other* horror novel

In January, I also took a look at where Pas de Chat was: nearing the bottom of the potential agents list. It isn’t terribly helpful that PdC is modern horror, not period horror like Lucinda at the Window and not science fiction like, well, all the other novels. I’m also not excited about going the small press route with another book. What to do? Maybe it’s time to go “non-traditional.” I’m thinking about giving the sucker away online, episodically, with the possibility of a PoD edition if warranted. This is in the planning/mulling stage (I guess).

Other, or stuff that is only occasionally on the radar

Obscure Music Monday has fallen by the wayside due to a combination of laziness, being out of town, lack of excitement and disc on Mondays. I’ll probably pick it up again after league is over, or maybe do a few shorter entries since I’ve come across a few interesting things. I’m considering spiffing up a few short/flash/beginnings for #flashfriday or something like that. I need to start getting my writing out there. Or something like that.